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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Durham in Durham County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Emanuel J. Evans, 1907-1997, and Sara N. Evans, 1905-1986

 
 
Emanuel J. Evans, 1907-1997, and Sara N. Evans, 1905-1986 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Jones, November 10, 2018
1. Emanuel J. Evans, 1907-1997, and Sara N. Evans, 1905-1986 Marker
Inscription.  "Mutt" and Sara Evans were civic, business and faith leaders during Durham's fast-changing, mid-20th century decades. Elected Mayor for a record six terms, Mutt Evans served from 1951 to 1963, holding together a diverse coalition of interests through civility and consideration for all.

He oversaw desegregation of various public agencies, including the police and fire departments; improvements in water and sewage treatment; establishment of a fire department company in Hayti; increases in the city's tax base through annexation; and formation of a mayor's Human Relations Committee of leaders from the black and white communities. Progress made during his tenure was instrumental in Durham's later designation as an All-American City, one of Mutt's long-held goals.

Sara was widely regarded as Durham's "First Lady" and led efforts such as United Way/United Fund campaigns and the League of Women Voters.

A Durham resident since childhood, Sara Nachamson attended Duke University and began managing her family's United Dollar Store when her father fell ill. In 1928, she married Mutt Evans, a Fayetteville native and student
Emanuel J. Evans, 1907-1997, and Sara N. Evans, 1905-1986 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Jones, November 10, 2018
2. Emanuel J. Evans, 1907-1997, and Sara N. Evans, 1905-1986 Marker
at UNC-Chapel Hill, and the couple took over the family business, later renamed Evans United Dollar Stores. Even during the Depression, a 24-year-old Mutt showed early business leadership by joining his mother-in-law to calm frantic depositors and avoid a run on Fidelity Bank.

The family's department store soon expanded to cover 319-328 Main Street downtown, and six branches were formed in North Carolina and Virginia. United was one of Durham's few white-owned businesses serving African Americans. It had an integrated lunch counter, which Evans had raised to standing height, creatively accommodating the law mandating racial separation for seated service.

Sara was a local, state and national leader in Hadassah, the women's Zionist organization. She traveled the South in the 1930s and 40s to urge establishment of a Jewish state in the Holy Land and served on Hadassah's national board for 40 years. During World War II, Mutt and Sara signed 55 affidavits personally guaranteeing the jobs required for visas for Jewish refugees from the Holocaust. Later, Sara lovingly claimed the refugees'sons and daughters as "our children, too." The Evanses created and helped underwrite the Judaic Studies Program at Duke and UNC and were staunch supporters of Durham's Beth El Synagogue, which Mutt served as president for 10 years.

Mutt Evans also served on a larger state.
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He was elected chair of the N.C. Mayors Association for ten years, and in the early 1960s, President John F. Kennedy, praised Mayor Evans' "integrity and ability," named him a member of the Civil Defense Advisory Council to represent the concerns of towns and cities across the United states.

Learn more: www.modh.org/learn/history-groves

 
Erected by Museum of Durham History.
 
Location. 35° 59.783′ N, 78° 54.171′ W. Marker is in Durham, North Carolina, in Durham County. Marker is on West Main Street west of Market Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 119 Market Street, Durham NC 27701, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Five Points Loan Company (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Visionary Leadership in the New South (about 300 feet away); Financial and Professional Impact in Durham (about 700 feet away); A Legacy of Community and Institutional Connections (about 800 feet away); Black Wall Street (approx. 0.2 miles away); A Black Capital for the World to See (approx. 0.2 miles away); Empowering and Diverse Opportunities (approx. mile away); Dedicated to Those who Served in the World War (approx. mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Durham.
 
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More. Search the internet for Emanuel J. Evans, 1907-1997, and Sara N. Evans, 1905-1986.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 18, 2019. This page originally submitted on November 12, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 70 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 12, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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